Thursday, December 31, 2009

Patent, My Ass! Five Strange But True Butt-Related Inventions

Dear Rich: I like your blog especially, the early funny stuff you used to write. How come you don't do funny stuff any more? Say no more! As a special end of the year bonus we've dug deep into the bowels of the patent office for five butt-shaking patents, all focused on the human rear-end.

 #1. Patent No. 6473908: "Garment having a buttocks cleavage revealing feature," What's buttocks cleavage? It's when a little bit of the buttocks (and cleft between them) is exposed. Some people find this type of exposure unappealing--in the U.S. it's disparagingly referred to as 'plumber's crack,' in Britain it's 'builder's bum,' and in Brazil, call it cofrinho. Even with this negative rap, apparently there are those among us who like to expose their gluteal cleft. For those folks, inventor Thomas A. Bontems created a method for affixing a strategically placed see-through material allowing for ideal butt cleavage exposure. One nice feature is that the see-through portion of the invention is not limited to a basic heart-shaped peek-a-boo cut-out; the wearer can also expose themselves through flower shaped, butterfly shaped, and football-helmet shaped windows of opportunity. (We're not sure if the football helmet is for fans or players occupying Center position). There's even a "logo" view that presumably allows for unlimited corporate licensing opportunities--for example, you can expose yourself within the Apple logo or Chevrolet "bowtie." Since inventors solve problems, one may wonder what problem Bontems' invention solves? According to the inventor, many people like to expose portions of their anatomy but they're not comfortable wearing tight fitting or low cut jeans. This invention "incorporates a revealing feature that does not detract from or govern the overall structure of the garment." In other words Bontems has leveled the playing field and liberated butt cleavage from the thin, the sexy and the good-looking. Free at last!! 
  • If You Liked This Invention You Might Also Like: Patent No. 5970516, "Article of clothing for making a patterned sunburn." This invention allows the user to swap out an interchangeable see-through portion of a bathing suit to create tanning tattoos. 
#2. Patent No. 6,012,168: "Privacy accessory for use with hospital gown" Even exhibitionists would probably like to avoid one situation of butt-cleavage exposure--the use of an old-fashioned posterior-exposing hospital gown. Laurie Hutton and Lois Histopad came up with a temporary-albeit worky solution as shown in their 1998 patent--a flap-and-strap garment that can be worn underneath the gown to guarantee "practical modesty coverage." Much as we may support the concept, this flapping backside accessory seems like a stop-gap measure. Sure enough, a better solution arrived in 2001 with Sarah Bowens' Patent No. 6,237,153, "Hospital Garment" which featured three panels one of which was an overlapping back panel. Despite the obsolescence of their invention, we support Histopad and Hutton because as lawyers, we can relate to the need for covering your ass. 
  • If You Liked This Invention You Might Also Like: Patent No. 4,028,740, "Convertible beach attire." Speaking of hiding your butt, perhaps you'd like a nice "pair of modesty panels" to cover your skimpy swimwear while walking from your car to the beach. These panels comes with a complex-looking belt and loop combo that makes you wonder why the wearer doesn't just drape a towel around the over-exposed area.
#3. Patent No. 4,151,613: "Protective device for the buttocks and hips of a person for use in skateboarding" Skateboarding is all about style and what could be more stylish than wearing a plastic and foam portable seat on your butt? Now, that should impress your boarding buds. No doubt, inventor Jhoon Rhee had the noblest intentions--to shield skateboarders from hip and butt damage--after all skateboarding injuries account for 50,000 emergency room visits per year. And since 90% of the skateboarding victims are under 15, it makes a lot of sense that kids should wear this "ass-helmet," although getting them to comply should be about as easy as getting them to clean out the septic tank. And here's some good news for manufacturers; Rhee's patent expired in 1995 so anyone can sell and use this shielding device. 
  • If You Liked This Invention You Might Also Like: Patent No. 5913405, "Ladybug (child protector)." Apparently influenced by Kafka's "Metamorphosis," inventor Francisco Bordier has designed a polyurethane bug-styled protective covering for use by children learning to walk. 
#4. Patent No. 5708986: "Undergarment having rear supports" We're afraid there's no other way to put this one. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has spent your tax dollars reviewing and ultimately granting a patent on a device that basically holds your butt cheeks in a raised position. Okay, not every invention can be a cure for cancer and we understand that looking good makes you feel good and feeling good is important in this cruel world. So perhaps it is important to have an invention that "enhances the presentation of the derriere." The principle is simple: cut two strategically placed holes in a support garment and allow your butt to fit within. The result, according to the inventor, is something akin to a push-up bra for your butt. 
  • If You Liked This Invention You Might Also Like: Patent No. 5842232, "Pad inserts for enhancing the shape of a wearer's buttocks." As we've concluded few problems are as devastating as having "flat or scant buttocks." Sure there are numerous butt enhancement devices, but we like inventor Janice Ward Parrish's unique dual-pad approach. 
#5. Patent No. 6,293,874: "User-operated amusement apparatus for kicking the user's buttocks."  Here's an invention that Jefferson and Franklin could never have anticipated -- a machine that allows you to kick your own ass. At least, there's no question what problem this invention solves ... the anatomic impossibility of booting oneself in the butt. This is of course not the first self-spanking machine (see also Pat No. 920,837 for example), but it's a giant leap forward over previous machines whose paddles needed to be reset after each episode. Inventor Joe Armstrong eliminated those pesky issues with his crank system utilizing rotating arms, resulting in a patent issued in 2001. Best of all the whole apparatus folds up for easy transport or storage so you can even take it on vacation. (Tip of the Hatlo Hat to Greg Aharonian)
  • If You Liked This Invention You Might Also Like: Patent No. 2006/0094518 A1, "Manually Self Operated Butt Kicking Machine." If the previous invention seemed so 2001, then check out J. Leavitt's 2006 patented attempt at self-humiliation--a Rube Goldberg styled seat with a hole, through which a shoe strikes the user's posterior.